Kensington Market is known for lots of things: the peaceful coexistence of fresh produce, handcrafted gourmet food, and affordable snacks; the intersection of hippie and hipster; vintage shops at every turn.
Turns out it’s also something of a patio Mecca.
For the most part, these aren’t the glossy, super-styled patios of King West or Yorkville. They’re mostly wooden, street-side and surrounded by pedestrians sporting bags of kale chips, fresh pasta and a cup of coffee from any of the Market’s independent purveyors. In short, they’re awesome.
Here are Vv Magazine’s picks for Kensington Market’s best patios.
Templeton’s, or The Temp as it’s affectionately known, offers a sizeable patio on which to enjoy your sangria or specialty coffee. They also serve up martinis, caesars, and beer — in short, you could make a full afternoon of jumping from libation to libation.
Trinity Common is something of a newbie on the Kensington scene, but seems poised to become a frontrunner with their spacious interior and patio, mix of craft beers (Dieu du Ciel! Rosee D’hibiscus, anyone?) and cocktails, and menu of munchables that includes fried green tomatoes and pies from nearby Wanda’s Pie in the Sky.
Cold Tea’s exact coordinates were once mysterious (“In a mall?!”; “Look for the red light above the door!”), but now their squirrelled-away location down the dim corridor of Kensington Square Mall is common knowledge. The bar remains an easy favourite in the Market, with its regular Sunday food pop-ups, DJ nights and quality cocktails — and most importantly, a spacious ground-level back patio.
Ronnie’s Local 069
Oh, Ronnie’s. Technically a dive bar, this spot is modest about its small interior and no-nonsense beer, but it’s still one of the Market’s most-loved. A spot on their patio is coveted, not least because it enjoys more than its fair share of direct sunlight, but the drinks are cheap.
El Trompo Taco Bar
Affordable Mexican dishes come out of the front kitchen faster than lightning, and you can grab a candy (or three) on your way to the modest sidewalk patio. Go on, flaunt your nachos and al pastor tacos in front of hungry pedestrians while you sip your margarita or Modelo Especial.
The Last Temptation
One of the Market’s oldies-but-goodies, The Last Temptation serves up a something-for-everyone menu of cheap bar food (i.e. omelettes, fried rice, and burgers) and cheap drinks. Their sidewalk patio benefits from some privacy thanks to their roster of potted trees.
Amadeu’s is a Kensington Market patio veteran, thanks in no small part to their large, mostly-covered wraparound patio. Serving up Portuguese dishes (pescatarians rejoice!) and bar snack staples, enjoy a view of Augusta Ave. or Bellevue Square Park over a tall, cold beer or a glass of wine.
Handlebar is presumably so-named for the slew of bicycles proudly displayed throughout the bar. Obviously catering to cycling enthusiasts, there’s a lot more on offer here than shop talk. Enjoy drink specials, pints of the now-ubiquitous Beau’s, bottles and cans from local breweries, and a small selection of classic cocktails—oh, and a street-side patio that’s regularly surrounded by, what else, bicycles.
The Supermarket has been around for a while (they celebrated their 10th anniversary last year), and with good reason. They have an expansive menu ranging from tapas to Asian-inspired cuisine, a back room that regularly hosts live music or book launches and a large street-side patio.
Poetry Jazz Cafe
If you’re looking for jazz (or spoken word) in the Market, look no further than the aptly-named Poetry Jazz Cafe. Stop in for regular live performances, and enjoy a beer or a well-made cocktail in their lounge area that opens onto Augusta Ave.—a great place to enjoy live tunes and a breeze in the high heat of summer. Oh, and they have an intimate back patio to boot.
Café Pamenar’s coffee has the worthy distinction of being considered some of Kensington’s finest, but the dual front-and-back patios (and beer) at this Augusta Ave. spot also make it the perfect place to settle into in the early afternoon (you lucky freelancing so-and-so) and hold court for your friends into the night.
Did we miss any of Kensington Market’s best patios? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.